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Eco-Atkins Diet is the new rage!

Posted Aug 19 2009 6:17pm

The Atkins diet is back in the news!

This time we’re calling it the Eco-Atkins diet, but it’s still very much a low-cab diet.

I’ve got to tell you that I never really understood the Atkins diet and I don’t think I would ever feature it on my site had it not been for the fact that Dr. Johnny Bowden recommended a low-carb diet to help boost your weight loss.

I guess since I’m not one to go for those short lived pushes, I never really saw the Atkins diet as something I’d be interested in trying.

That said, it does make sense that if you have a lot of weight to lose you may use the Atkins or in this case the Eco-Atkins diet as a way to kick start the weight loss.

Listen, I’ll admit to adhere more to the French diet and the Mediterranean diet, so this is not my forte. I’ll let Dr. Johnny Bowden guide you and let you know exactly how the new Eco-Atkins diet works.

If you want to skip right through this fairly long explanation on the Eco-Atkins diet, you can simply check out Dr. Bowden’s training program to help you gain a healthier weight: Diet Boot Camp

>>> Dr. Johnny Bowden explains how the new Eco-Atkins diet can help you:

Recently, a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine received a flurry of media attention.

The subject?

A variation of low-carbohydrate dieting that the researchers dubbed “Eco-Atkins”.

“Eco-Atkins”?

Let me explain.

The study authors started with the premise that low-carbohydrate dieting had indeed been shown to be effective for weight loss. But they pointed out that low-carbohydrate diets…

may not promote the desired reduction inlow-density lipoprotein(LDL) concentration

(LDL is the so-called “bad” cholesterol, more about that in a moment).

The researchers wanted to see if they could design a low-carbohydrate diet that retained the proven weight-loss benefits of standard low-carb plans such as Atkins but at the same time helped people improve their cholesterol.

What’s interesting is that on the very first page of the actual study, the researchers concede that the low-carb diets have been shown to be effective not only for weight loss, but for reducing insulin resistance, lowering triglyceride concentrations and for raising HDL (so-called “good” cholesterol). (They cite numerous published studies that have demonstrated every one of those effects.) That’s a pretty impressive resume, and one might be forgiven for asking… “and the problem is??”

1) The Problem

Well, the problem according to the researchers, is that low-carb diets (at least the standard kind that are more permissive of animal products like meat), have not consistently been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.

To which one might well say, “So what?”

But that’s a topic for a whole different column. These researchers clearly buy into the premise that lowering LDL lowers the risk of heart disease, so let’s go with it for a moment. They wanted to see if they could get the best of all possible worlds – a diet that did all the wonderful things low-carb admittedly does and lowers the dreaded and demonized LDL.

2) The Experiment

The researchers put one group of participants on a vegan diet (which contains not a single animal product or by-product, including eggs) which met their definition of low-carb and high-protein. They called this the “Eco-Atkins” diet:

  • Protein (31% of total calories) came mainly from gluten, soy, and nuts, with typical foods being soy burgers, veggie bacon and breakfast links.
  • Most of the fat (43% of total calories) came from nuts, vegetable oils, soy products and avocado.
  • Carbohydrates (26% of total calories) came mostly from fruits and vegetables and some cereals — common starchy items like bread, rice, potatoes and baked goods were eliminated.

The researchers tested the “Eco-Atkins” diet against a standard low-fat lacto-vegetarian diet:

  • 58% of calories from carbs
  • 16% of calories from protein sources such as low-fat or skim milk dairy products and liquid egg whites
  • 25% of calories from fat

Both diets were calorie reduced (60% of estimated caloric requirement, with allowance for exercise). All subjects in both groups were overweight at the start of the study, which lasted one month.

3) The Results

Both groups lost weight, not surprising given the reduction in calories on both diets. And there were no significant differences between the two groups in weight loss – both groups lost about 4kg (8.8 pounds), roughly the same amount of weight as would be expected on a more traditional low-carbohydrate Atkins diet. But there were some important differences between the two groups when it came to cholesterol.

The “Eco-Atkins” group saw their LDL-cholesterol (the so-called “bad” cholesterol) drop significantly more than the group on the low-fat vegetarian diet. As an added benefit, ApoB- a component of LDL that is related to heart disease, fell significantly more for the low-carb dieters than it did for the high-carbers.

Now you might easily argue that the “Eco-Atkins” diet- with its 130 grams of carbs a day – is very far from what we traditionally think of as a low-carb diet. And you might also argue that lowering cholesterol might not be nearly as important as the conventional medical establishment thinks it is (a position taken by myself and many other experts). But that said, this is a really valuable piece of research and here’s why:

4) What it all Means

It’s been a long, uphill and sometimes discouraging battle to get the conventional medical community to accept low carbs in any form. Fixated on cholesterol, they worry that conventional low-carb diets don’t lower cholesterol (ignoring the fact that these same diets not only produce weight loss, but lowered triglycerides, and insulin resistance). And – not without some justification – many conventional docs continue to be worried about overconsumption of meat. So here’s a legitimate study in one of the most prestigious and conservative journals that demonstrates that low-carb can be adapted to even the most rigorous vegan eating pattern, producing not only the expected weight loss, lowered insulin resistance and lowered triglycerides, but lowered cholesterol as well.

And it did even better than the low-fat vegetarian diet so many of these docs seem to adore!

Of course, this study leaves a bunch of questions unanswered. Would the results have been even better if carbs had been lower than the 26% of calories used in the study? Could the results have been just as impressive with a diet that included some animal products like eggs and fish? And of course, does it even matter whether cholesterol is lowered if all the other risk factors improve so markedly?

But those questions can be left for another day. This study should go a long way towards reassuring conventional docs that the low-carb diet is a viable alternative to standard recommendations of low-fat high-carb diets, and can even “outperform” such diets on a number of variables.

Commenting on the study, Pamela Peeke, MD (author of Body for Lifefor Women and Fight Fat After 40 ) summed it up very well indeed:

“This study is one more important piece of science that helps substantiate the low carb, high protein approach to healthier living, weight loss and disease prevention/treatment.”

Amen to that!

5) How You Can Benefit from The Information in This Study

Here are some low-carb diet guidelines from Diet Boot Camp:

>>> YES: Protein, Fat and Fiber (from vegetables)

>>> NO: Starch, sugar, cereal, pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, cakes, fruit (for the first two weeks).

>>> DO:

- Eat breakfast

- Eat every 3 hours

- Eat protein at every single meal

- Don’t fear healthy fats from olive oil, eggs, and avocado

- Unlimited vegetables (not counting corn and potatoes)

Sure, you will have to ditch the obvious junk foods like sodas and candy bars, but the low-carb diet that is part of my Diet Boot Camp does not require you to starve yourself. In fact, studies show that skipping meals and not eating enough can actually cause you to gain weight! This is why my eight-week plan for you includes eating something like this every three hours:

I’ve worked hard to make it really easy to eat healthy, nutritious, delicious foods while on this diet. It’s not strict at all. As long as you stay within the dietary guidelines I recommend you can eat whatever you want.

Just to make things easier for you I’ve included several of my favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are just a few:

  • Jonny’s Favorite Apple-Spinach Omelet
  • Diet Boot Camp Pancakes
  • Fast and Delicious Homemade Melt
  • Baked Salmon Fillet
  • Almond Butter Chicken

Feel free to modify my recipes to your taste… or throw them out and do your own thing!

>>> Once again, if you like to learn more about Dr. Bowden strategy to help you drop the weight, you’ll sure want to check out this page: Diet Boot Camp

Photo by rachelkramerbussel.com

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